Attempts by other carriers to question or oppose the bid by Qantas and American Airlines to introduce additional joint services between Australia and the US have failed so far to sway the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Qantas and American Airlines want to expand their alliance and the ACCC has so far seen no reason why they should not do so. The ACCC has granted interim authorisation for the move, although that should not be mistaken for final authorisation.
“The ACCC considers that granting interim authorisation is likely to lead to additional capacity on the Sydney to Los Angeles route, and increased capacity and competition on the Sydney to San Francisco route,” ACCC Commissioner Dr Jill Walker said.
“This is likely to result in benefits to passengers that wish to use these services. Further, granting interim authorisation is unlikely to have any permanent impact on the market that could not be reversed in the event final authorisation is not granted.”
Interim authorisation is not indicative of whether or not final authorisation will be granted.
The alliance between Qantas and American Airlines was first authorised by the ACCC in September 2011 for five years. Reauthorisation has been sought for an expanded alliance, which among other things will enable commencement of new joint services from December 2015.
Authorisation provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.
The ACCC also sought submissions on the substantive application from interested parties. Those submissions closed on 3 July 2015. The ACCC will now proceed to prepare its draft determination.
Edited by Peter Needham